Most homeowners have a few basic tools on hand that allow them to handle minor plumbing problems. In some situations, a slow drain or leaky faucet may simply need a plunger or a little elbow grease to get the plumbing working like it should. Those who are handy around the house can typically tackle small repairs, such as replacing a worn washer or unclogging a drain; however, bigger plumbing repairs require professional services. Here are a few of the plumbing maintenance tasks that you may be able to do on your own and when it's best to contact a professional.
One of the best ways to prevent costly plumbing repairs is with regular maintenance. Many plumbing problems with the pipes occur slowly over time, so doing routine maintenance allows you or your plumber to catch the problem before it grows. For instance, an unnoticed leak below the water heater or in a sink drain is more than a simple nuisance; over time, these problems can cause extensive structural damage, especially to drywall and wood flooring. Some of the DIY maintenance tasks should include:
- Routinely checking the pipes for leaking
- Check for moisture on all exposed pipes
- Look for corrosion on brass and/or copper fittings
- Turn on the faucets in shower, sinks and bathtub to check water pressure
- Take note of how quickly the water drains after testing the faucets
- Flush toilets to make sure they don't leak or run
Professional Maintenance & Inspections
Having a professional plumbing inspection and maintenance at least once each year ensures all of the pipes and drains in your home are working like they should. During the inspection, the technician will check all areas of your home's plumbing system, including the water heater and garbage disposal. The plumber can do a more thorough assessment by using equipment such as remote video cameras. Some of the maintenance you can expect with professional services includes:
- Pressure tests to identify hairline leaks
- Assessment and adjustment of water pressure
- Drain cleaning services to maximize the flow rate
- Clean water heater and garbage disposal
DIY Clogged or Slow Drain Repairs
If you are taking a shower, but end up feeling as though you're taking a bath because the water won't drain, you probably have a partial or even a complete clog. In some cases, you can fix the problem with a plunger. Plungers rely on air pressure to dislodge clogs, but they cannot remove it completely. Commercial drain cleaners are safe when only used occasionally, but if used too frequently, they can damage some pipe materials. An easy way to check for a clog is to shine a flashlight down the drain and look for what might be blocking the drain. Using a pair of tweezers, you may be able to reach things such as a fallen bottle cap or a clump of hair. Installing a drain screen may help to prevent this type of debris from getting into the drains.
Frequent clogged drains can damage your plumbing system as well as other areas of your home, including flooring, walls and ceilings. Drain cleaning services have the tools and equipment to check for things that may be blocking water flow in the sewer system. For instance, tree roots in the sewer are a common cause for clogged interior drains. If you are frequently dealing with clogs, it's best to call a professional drain cleaning service.